The Government is committed to ensuring that all householders can afford to live in a warm home. Much has been achieved in recent years to advance this through a combination of institutional supports, programmes to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock and energy awareness initiatives.
The Inter-Departmental/Agency Group on Affordable Energy considers it timely to seek the input of affected parties and other stakeholders on the creation of an Affordable Energy Strategy.
Understanding energy poverty is central to the understanding of energy affordability. A household is considered vulnerable to energy poverty if they are not able to afford adequate heating and other essential amenities such as electricity and hot water. This occurs through a combination of low income, high energy costs and poor energy performance of the home. However, each of those factors is influenced by a complex mix of economic and social issues. The effects of energy poverty can have a very negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of society, including children, people with long-term illness or disability and the elderly.
The purpose of this consultation paper is to provide an overview of the issues relevant to the development of the Strategy and to stimulate discussion and reaction amongst interested parties.